Weekly Report ~ February 20 – 26, 2023
Gray Whale Migration Transition Continues!
As we move toward spring, we should continue to see more northbound whales each week. Once the southward migration starts each fall, pregnant females usually arrive first, then non-pregnant but fertile females, followed by other adults and immature females, with the immature males arriving last. Most southbound whales we are currently observing are likely juvenile males who are smaller than the females. One pair observed for almost an hour early in the week was traveling south, not fluking in only 46 feet of water. Another northbound pair of adult gray whales socializing 6 miles from the harbor. The bright sun rays broke through clouds as we watched this pair roll, fluke, and display their pectoral fins.
Bottlenose dolphins are distributed worldwide in tropical and warm-temperate waters. We usually find them at least a mile from shore in pods of about 15-60 and sometimes 100. This week we found smaller groups off San Clemente, likely feeding, and a larger group of over 40 north of the Dana Point Headlands. These pods all had claves in their groups.
We encountered several pods of long-beaked common dolphin numbering in the hundreds. There was a nursery pod of about 300 about 5 miles from north San Clemente. Tiny calves could be seen in every direction, with some likely only weeks, days, maybe even hours old! With the glassy seas, we watched these dolphins as they raced under the water and surfaced all around the Dana Pride.